While I know it's unlikely to have been prompted by my Touch HD review, it's nice all the same to see that Microsoft are planning their own on-device Windows Mobile App Store. Speaking at an Australian developers event, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed that the company would be soon launching a service that would allow developers to sell their applications direct to users.
"I actually will agree that there's some good work, particularly at Facebook, and also with the iPhone, where both of those companies have made it easier for developers to distribute their applications. [They've] made it easier to kind of get exposure for your applications. There's not much money being made, but the general concept of giving developers a way not only to get their code distributed, but to really get visibility for the code, is a good idea" Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft
While retailers such as Handango already offer Windows Mobile applications, there's currently no centralized way to download them onto devices such as Apple have with the iPhone AppStore and Android with the Android Marketplace. Although some have suggested that the Microsoft download store will be "just another" place for WM software, if it's preloaded on every new smartphone running the platform then that could be a significant change.
Ballmer went on to say that Microsoft have no plans to "mimic" the iPhone AppStore. It's unclear what form the Microsoft implementation would take, then, or what timescale we can expect for its launch.